Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity Biography of King Solomon: The Wisest Man Who Ever Lived Share Flipboard Email Print King Solomon. Writing Proverbs. Engraving by Gustave Doré (1832 - 1883). Culture Club / Getty Images Christianity The Old Testament Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Catholicism Latter Day Saints View More By Jack Zavada Christianity Expert M.A., English Composition, Illinois State University B.S., English Literature, Illinois State University Jack Zavada is a writer who covers the Bible, theology, and other Christianity topics. He is the author of "Hope for Hurting Singles: A Christian Guide to Overcoming Life's Challenges." our editorial process Jack Zavada Updated September 11, 2019 King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived and also one of the most foolish. God gifted him with unsurpassed wisdom, which Solomon squandered by disobeying God's commandments. Some of Solomon’s most famous achievements were his building projects, particularly the temple in Jerusalem. King Solomon Solomon was the third king over Israel.Solomon ruled with wisdom over Israel for 40 years, securing stability through treaties with foreign powers.He is celebrated for his wisdom and for building the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem.Solomon wrote much of the book of Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, the book of Ecclesiastes, and two psalms. Solomon was the second son of King David and Bathsheba. His name means "peaceable." His alternative name was Jedidiah, meaning "beloved of the Lord." Even as a baby, Solomon was loved by God. A conspiracy by Solomon's half-brother Adonijah tried to rob Solomon of the throne. To take the kingship, Solomon had to kill Adonijah and Joab, David's general. Once Solomon's kingship was firmly established, God appeared to Solomon in a dream and promised him anything he asked. Solomon chose understanding and discernment, asking God to help him govern his people well and wisely. God was so pleased with the request that he granted it, along with great riches, honor, and longevity (1 Kings 3:11-15, NIV). Solomon's downfall began when he married the daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh to seal a political alliance. He could not control his lust. Among Solomon's 700 wives and 300 concubines were many foreigners, which angered God. The inevitable happened: They lured King Solomon away from Yahweh into the worship of false gods and idols. Over his 40-year reign, Solomon did many great things, but he succumbed to the temptations of lesser men. The peace a united Israel enjoyed, the massive building projects he headed, and the successful commerce he developed became meaningless when Solomon stopped pursuing God. King Solomon's Accomplishments Solomon set up an organized state in Israel, with many officials to assist him. The country was divided into 12 major districts, with each district providing for the king’s court during one month each year. The system was fair and just, distributing the tax burden evenly over the entire country. Solomon built the first temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, a seven-year task that became one of the wonders of the ancient world. He also built a majestic palace, gardens, roads, and government buildings. He accumulated thousands of horses and chariots. After securing peace with his neighbors, he built up trade and became the wealthiest king of his time. Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. DEA PICTURE LIBRARY / Getty Images The Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame and visited him to test his wisdom with hard questions. After seeing with her own eyes all that Solomon had built in Jerusalem, and hearing his wisdom, the queen blessed the God of Israel, saying: “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard." (1 Kings 10:6-7, ESV) Solomon, a prolific writer, poet, and scientist, is credited with writing much of the book of Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, the book of Ecclesiastes, and two psalms. First Kings 4:32 tells us he wrote 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. Strengths King Solomon greatest strength was his unsurpassed wisdom, granted to him by God. In one biblical episode, two women came to him with a dispute. Both lived in the same house and had recently delivered newborns, but one of the infants had died. The mother of the dead baby tried to take the living child from the other mother. Because no other witnesses lived in the house, the women were left to dispute who the living child belonged to and who was the true mother. Both claimed to have given birth to the baby. They asked Solomon to determine which of the two of them should keep the newborn. With astonishing wisdom, Solomon suggested that the boy be cut in half with a sword and split between the two women. Deeply moved by love for her son, the first woman whose baby was alive said to the king, "Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!" But the other woman said, "Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!" Solomon ruled that the first woman was the real mother because she preferred giving up her child to seeing him harmed. King Solomon skills in architecture and management turned Israel into the showplace of the Middle East. As a diplomat, he made treaties and alliances that brought peace to his kingdom. Weaknesses To satisfy his curious mind, Solomon turned to worldly pleasures instead of the pursuit of God. He collected all sorts of treasures and surrounded himself with luxury. In the case of his non-Jewish wives and concubines, Solomon allowed lust to rule his heart instead of obedience to God. Apparently, he let his foreign wives worship their native gods and even had altars to those gods built in Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:7–8). Solomon taxed his subjects heavily, conscripted them into his army and into slave-like labor for his building projects. Life Lessons King Solomon's sins speak loudly to us in our current day materialistic culture. When we worship possessions and fame over God, we are headed for a fall. When Christians marry an unbeliever, they can also expect trouble. God ought to be our first love, and we should let nothing come before him. Hometown Solomon hails from Jerusalem. References to King Solomon in the Bible 2 Samuel 12:24 - 1 Kings 11:43; 1 Chronicles 28, 29; 2 Chronicles 1-10; Nehemiah 13:26; Psalm 72; Matthew 6:29, 12:42. Family Tree Father - King DavidMother - BathshebaBrothers - Absalom, AdonijahSister - TamarSon - Rehoboam Key Verse Nehemiah 13:26Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations, there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. (NIV) Outline of Solomon's Reign Transfer and consolidation of the kingdom (1 Kings 1–2).Solomon’s wisdom (1 Kings 3–4).Building and dedication of the temple (1 Kings 5–8).Solomon’s wealth (1 Kings 9–10).Solomon’s apostasy (1 Kings 11).